Momofuku-Inspired Shortbread

On the Monday after Thanksgiving, I flew back to Houston with three dozen cookies carefully tucked in a padded section of my purse. When I got home, I opened the cookie bags to find more than half of them crumbled. Surprise!

Momofuku Shortbread // The Pancake Princess

NOT my smartest move. But neither was baking cookies to be shipped off as part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap on a Sunday when post offices aren’t open the day before flying home. Or waiting to the last minute to decide what kind of cookies to make. Because I wanted to bake the best cookies ever and then baked up a bunch of cookies that looked like dirty sand. Way to go, Erika.

My sous chef for the day. You can just call her the Dough Whisperer.

My sous chef for the day. You can just call her the Dough Whisperer.

So let’s reminisce about some fun times! This time last year, friendship seeds were planted during the Cookie Swap which came to fruition over doughnuts in Austin. After I received cookies from the lovely Melissa of Sterling & Oats and we exchanged a series of admiring blog comments, we met up one weekend when Erik and I took a road trip to Austin. She got the coconut, Erik and I split the fattiest chocolate doughnut in existence, and we talked about blogging, baking, cake, her boyfriend’s art, Austin and more. It was so fun! The wonders of the interwebs amaze me sometimes.

This year, I sent cookies to:

All of these ladies are so talented and awesome! Joanne has all these recipes I’m dying to try (goat cheese pepper and honey popovers?!) AND she lives in NYC AND runs marathons AND she’s getting her MD/PhD AND her blog is SUPER CUTE *keels over* Awesome factor is off the charts. Madison is pretty much the cutest food blogger you’ll ever meet, living my dream job as a food editor. I adore her No Fat Talk Tuesday series. Yay for healthy body image talk! And Allie. Oh Allie. This minion cake will forever steal my heart. Counting down the seconds until I have an opportunity to make it!


I received these beautiful orange zest shortbread cookies from Devangi at Pistachio Doughnut. So dense and tasty! They’ve been my 3 p.m. pick-me-up for the past few weeks—thanks Devangi!

I also got some salted almond toffee cookies from Kinsey Cooks. Omg DIE. So good!! (I don’t know where the last batch is but it’s okay! I’ve had cake for breakfast this week so I’m clearly not deprived.) AND some mandelbrot from Allison at The Baking Year, recipe courtesy of her grandma. That was possibly the best package I will ever receive since she stuffed it with much-needed Christmas sprinkles + candy + a sweet note! Such amazing generosity.

Momofuku Shortbread // The Pancake Princess

Back to the dirty sand cookies. In the end—in a frenzy of desperation—I decided to forego the healthy cookie idea and go full-fat with a mashup of classic holiday cookies (shortbread) and the classic ingredients from some Momofuku recipes (pretzels, potato chips,  marshmallows, cornflakes and chocolate.) They received solid—not rave—reviews from my cousinly sous chefs, but it’s hard to get rave out of them in the first place. I thought they were pretty darn addictive. I mean, how could they not be with brown butter and chocolate and sugar and potato chips??

Momofuku Shortbread // The Pancake Princess


I was riffing off a recipe for butter pecan shortbread (I had a lot of ground pecans to use up) and because it called for SO many ground pecans, which are super buttery, I figured I could nearly double the recipe using the same amount of butter for a single batch +  add all my extra add-ins. Nope. This made the dough SUPER crumbly and hard to hold together (not enough liquid, too many dry ingredients).

My only solution at this point is to lessen the amount of mix-ins and add a little milk if you try these, to help hold the dough together. I used close to 3 cups of mix-ins, but I suggest you use no more than 1.5 cups.

Momofuku-Inspired Shortbread

Yield: ~40 small cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 110

Fat per serving: 8.6g

Almost-soft shortbread cookies with compost-cookie like mix-ins.


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2.5 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 cups pecans, ground into flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1.5 cups mix-ins: potato chips, pretzel thins, cornflakes, marshmallows, chopped bittersweet chocolate, etc.
  • milk, as needed


_Make the dough:_In a large saucepan, brown the butter. Add the sugar through salt and stir until a smooth dough forms. Fold in your mix-ins and stir until evenly incorporated. Add a tablespoon or three of milk if the batter is too dry to hold together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.

Shape and bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When I need to make a specific number of cookies, I’ll divide the dough into chunks and designate each chunk for a certain number of cookies. For this batch, I divided the mass of dough into three balls. From there, I divided each third of dough into two, and then two again. So each little ball of dough needed to make three cookies to equal 36 cookies total.

If you don’t like dough division, I’d recommend using a tablespoon to measure out scant tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Because I stuffed so many mix-ins to the dough, this dough was on the dry side and extremely prone to cracking, so each cookie took a bit of coaxing to make a smooth shape. These will hardly spread, so I flattened each ball of dough to about 1/2-inch thickness and then molded the edges with my fingers until they smoothed out.

Place on a cookie sheet about two inches apart—again, they won’t spread, so you could theoretically put them closer together. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are browned and the tops aren’t squishy-soft. You should easily be able to pry one off the sheet with a spatula.


Adapted from here.

Momofuku Shortbread // The Pancake Princess

Andddd these are the cookies I made last year!

Vegan Sandies:











And here are some more healthy-ish cookie ideas. Are you doing any cookie swapping this year? What are you making?

Honey oat cookies:











Vegan jam thumbprint cookies:











Malted milk chocolate chip cookies:











Black bean chocolate cherry cookies:











Spent grain cookies (know any beer brewers? Relieve them of some of their spent grain for these!):


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32 thoughts on “Momofuku-Inspired Shortbread

    1. erika Post author

      Hi Kimberly–the recipe has been fixed to note a baking temperature of 350 degrees. Thanks so much for catching and happy baking!

  1. Pingback: The 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap Round Up Part 2 | the little kitchen

  2. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Girl, you know I’m a proponent of full fat cookies given my blog, but I appreciate that you considered the waistlines of your recipients. Seriously though, this time of year is all about balls to the wall indulgence and I think you nailed it with these momofuku inspired cookies. The cookie swap is such a fun idea and it sounds like you got some kick ass goodies in the mail. I just noticed your gorgeous new header (love it!). Happy Holidays to you and Erik!

  3. Rika

    Speaking of Houston, do you like Austin or Houston better for vegan food? I’m planning to visit Texas sometimes in the early spring, I’m not sure yet. Crumbled cookies are the best, you can use them as garnish or pie crust. Crazy ingredients, I would love to veganise this version with the following mix-in ingredients!

    1. erika Post author

      Oooh so I really want to say Houston so we can hang out but honestly Austin is like the mecca of vegan/vegetarian food. I don’t really have an exact spot in mind, but everywhere just seems to be SO extremely vegan-friendly. I’m sure you could find quite a few awesome restaurants though! ALTHOUGH just a plug for Houston…I really love Radical Eats, which used to be completely vegan and now offers some meat but is still mostly vegetarian. And there’s Loving Hut, Green Seed Vegan and a few other spots that could keep you busy for a few days at least!

        1. erika Post author

          Ooh no but I’ll put it on my list for next time! Thanks!! Wait are you vegan or vegetarian? Because I had this vegetarian sausage at this place called Bangers and it was sooooooo good. I think it was beet + goat cheese or something. Anyway, I’d recommend that for next time! :)

  4. The Vegan 8

    Oh yay for pecan cookies!!! We are both in the pecan mood! I just can’t get enough of pecans this time of year. These look delicious and rich! Hey, no biggie if they fell apart….I’m sure nobody minds eating them, lol! All these photos of cookies are killing me. Oh, and I LOVE your new banner….it’s so much more eye catching…I noticed it immediately!!! :)

  5. Melissa Martinez

    After a full week of traveling and zero internet, I’ll have you know that this is the FIRST blog I decided to check on! Your new banner at the top is beautiful! I’m so sad I had to miss this year’s cookie swap but I’ll be back next year. Also, I love how much you adore Momofuku b/c my love for Christine Tosi is unreal. She is amazing! I think we need to meet-up soon and maybe make some of her corn cookies???

    1. erika Post author

      Omgosh awwww!! Thanks girl :) And THANK YOU for noticing my banner!! <3 It kind of came about on a whim but no one really commented and I was like, hm. Did it not make a difference? Do we hate it? I'm still on the fence.

      YES TO CORN COOKIES!!!! How can we make this happen. But seriously.

  6. Two Red Bowls

    Haha, awww. They look pretty darn tasty to me. And I got a big kick out of your dough whisperer sous chef. Worth it for that expression. Good for you for getting creative with your cookies! You know no one else is going to be getting a cookie like yours in this swap.

    1. erika Post author

      Oh girl you made my day! True. As long as they aren’t known as like the inedible cookies, it’ll be fun to be the shipper of unique cookies! I’m glad you appreciate my dough whisperer as much as I do :)

    1. erika Post author

      Oooh thanks! I might take you up on that since I don’t think I have plans until after dinner…no wait my friend is in town. Hmm we will probably end up going to dinner somewhere. But I really want to go to one of these–let me know the next time you go! :)

  7. janet @ the taste space

    Sometimes that is just how the cookie crumbles.. but what a fun cookie swap! Btw, I thought of you. The Radical Eats demo today is supposed to be tamales. I am hoping to go if I get off of work early enough. Let me know if you are interested in going, too. :)

    1. erika Post author

      Haha good one… 😉 OMG! I want to go!!! Unfortunately I have a work happy hour thing today that I should go to…but darn. Tell me how it is! I’m very curious how they make them. I actually took my sister there for dinner the other night and was sort of disappointed :( I got the banh mi taco and the orange molly and they were just kind of meh. She got the green molly (better) and the potato soup (pretty good), but overall…I miss their old location! The new location looks nicer, but I don’t know if the price difference is worth it :(


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